Ringo Starr was devastated to find out about Cilla Black's death on the news.

The pair grew up together in English city Liverpool and remained firm friends after they both found fame but Ringo only discovered Cilla's shocking death, after she suffered a ''traumatic head injury'' following a fall at her home in Spain in August, from a news outlet.

The Beatles drummer said: ''I was in Los Angeles when I found out she died, and actually found out via a news outlet rather than someone ringing me up to tell me.''

Ringo, 75, was also upset that work commitments stopped him from flying back to the UK for 72-year-old Cilla's funeral and admitted they did not get to see as much of each other in recent years as he would have liked.

He told the Daily Mirror newspaper: ''Sadly the last years we didn't really hang out a lot. We'd have the odd dinner, or go to parties, but we'd never do anything just the two of us really.''

While Ringo conquered the world with The Beatles and Cilla became one of Britain's best loved entertainers, he never thought they would come so far from their modest roots in Liverpool.

He said: ''I remember her before she ever made it - she lived in a tenement. Her mother was a friend of my mother's and we would just hang out.

''We didn't think about it at the time, we never, ever thought. 'Oh wow, we're going to be a part of something so big.'

''Cilla started at the same time we did. She was important in Liverpool and so were we - and then we had to fight the rest of the world together!''